Biography of John Dryden 1631-1700

Paternal Family Tree: Dryden

John Dryden 1631-1700 is in Poets.

On 19 Aug 1631 John Dryden was born to Erasmus Dryden (age 45) in The Rectory Aldwincle Thrapston, Northamptonshire.

On 04 Apr 1649 [his future brother-in-law] William Howard (age 27) and Elizabeth Dundas (age 23) were married. He the son of Thomas Howard 1st Earl Berkshire (age 61) and Elizabeth Cecil Countess Berkshire (age 53).

On 08 Feb 1650 Conyers Darcy 2nd Earl Holderness (age 28) and [his future sister-in-law] Frances Howard (age 23) were married. She the daughter of Thomas Howard 1st Earl Berkshire (age 62) and Elizabeth Cecil Countess Berkshire (age 54). He the son of Conyers Darcy 1st Earl Holderness (age 51) and Grace Rokeby Countess Holderness (age 50).

In 1654 [his father] Erasmus Dryden (age 68) died.

Pepy's Diary. 14 Jun 1663. By and by in comes Sir J. Minnes (age 64) and Sir W. Batten (age 62), and so we sat talking. Among other things, Sir J. Minnes (age 64) brought many fine expressions of Chaucer, which he doats on mightily, and without doubt he is a very fine poet1. Sir W. Pen (age 42) continues lame of the gout, that he cannot rise from his chair. So after staying an hour with him, we went home and to supper, and so to prayers and bed.

Note 1. Pepys continued through life an admirer of Chaucer, and we have the authority of Dryden (age 31) himself for saying that we owe his character of the Good Parson to Pepys's recommendation.

On 01 Dec 1663 John Dryden (age 32) and Elizabeth Howard (age 25) were married. She the daughter of Thomas Howard 1st Earl Berkshire (age 76) and Elizabeth Cecil Countess Berkshire (age 67).

Pepy's Diary. 03 Feb 1664. In Covent Garden [Map] to-night, going to fetch home my wife, I stopped at the great Coffee-house' there, where I never was before; where Dryden (age 32) the poet (I knew at Cambridge), and all the wits of the town, and Harris (age 30) the player, and Mr. Hoole of our College. And had I had time then, or could at ether times, it will be good coming thither, for there, I perceive, is very witty and pleasant discourse. But I could not tarry, and as it was late, they were all ready to go away.

Around 1665 John Michael Wright (age 47). Portrait of John Dryden (age 33).

After 1665 [his brother-in-law] Robert Howard (age 38) and Honora O'Brien were married. She the daughter of Henry O'Brien 5th Earl Thomond and Mary Brereton Countess Thomond. He the son of Thomas Howard 1st Earl Berkshire (age 77) and Elizabeth Cecil Countess Berkshire (age 69).

Pepy's Diary. 12 May 1666. At noon home, where I find my wife troubled still at my checking her last night in the coach in her long stories out of Grand Cyrus, which she would tell, though nothing to the purpose, nor in any good manner1. This she took unkindly, and I think I was to blame indeed; but she do find with reason, that in the company of Pierce, Knipp, or other women that I love, I do not value her, or mind her as I ought. However very good friends by and by, and to dinner, and after dinner up to the putting our dining room in order, which will be clean again anon, but not as it is to be because of the pictures which are not come home.

Note 1. Sir Walter Scott observes, in his "Life of Dryden (age 34)", that the romances of Calprenede and Scuderi, those ponderous and unmerciful folios, now consigned to oblivion, were, in their day, not only universally read and admired, but supposed to furnish the most perfect models of gallantry and heroism. Dr. Johnson read them all. "I have", says Mrs. Chapone, "and yet I am still alive, dragged through 'Le Grand Cyrus,' in twelve huge volumes; 'Cleopatra,' in eight or ten; 'Ibrahim,' 'Clelie,' and some others, whose names, as well as all the rest of them, I have forgotten" ("Letters to Mrs. Carter"). No wonder that Pepys sat on thorns, when his wife began to recite "Le Grand Cyrus" in the coach, "and trembled at the impending tale". B.

St James' Day Battle

Pepy's Diary. 03 Aug 1666. The death of Everson, and the report of our success, beyond expectation, in the killing of so great a number of men, hath raised the estimation of the late victory considerably; but it is only among fools: for all that was but accidental. But this morning, getting Sir.W. Pen (age 45) to read over the Narrative with me, he did sparingly, yet plainly, say that we might have intercepted their Zealand squadron coming home, if we had done our parts; and more, that we might have spooned before the wind as well as they, and have overtaken their ships in the pursuite, in all the while1.

Note 1. To spoom, or spoon, is to go right before the wind, without any sail. Sea Dictionary. Dryden (age 34) uses the word "When virtue spooms before a prosperous gale, My heaving wishes help to fill the sail". Hind and Panther, iii. 96.

Pepy's Diary. 02 Feb 1667. So to bed. I am very well pleased this night with reading a poem I brought home with me last night from Westminster Hall [Map], of Dryden's (age 35) upon the present war; a very good poem.

Pepy's Diary. 02 Mar 1667. After dinner, with my wife, to the King's house to see "The Mayden Queene", a new play of Dryden's (age 35), mightily commended for the regularity of it, and the strain and wit; and, the truth is, there is a comical part done by Nell (age 17)1, which is Florimell, that I never can hope ever to see the like done again, by man or woman. The King (age 36) and Duke of York (age 33) were at the play. But so great performance of a comical part was never, I believe, in the world before as Nell (age 17) do this, both as a mad girle, then most and best of all when she comes in like a young gallant; and hath the notions and carriage of a spark the most that ever I saw any man have. It makes me, I confess, admire her. Thence home and to the office, where busy a while, and then home to read the lives of Henry 5th and 6th, very fine, in Speede, and to bed. This day I did pay a bill of £50 from my father, being so much out of my own purse gone to pay my uncle Robert's legacy to my aunt Perkins's child.

Note 1. "Her skill increasing with her years, other poets sought to obtain recommendations of her wit and beauty to the success of their writings. I have said that Dryden (age 35) was one of the principal supporters of the King's house, and ere long in one of his new plays a principal character was set apart for the popular comedian. The drama was a tragi-comedy called 'Secret Love, or the Maiden Queen,' and an additional interest was attached to its production from the King (age 36) having suggested the plot to its author, and calling it 'his play.'"-Cunningham's Story of Nell Gwyn (age 17), ed: 1892, pp. 38,39.

Pepy's Diary. 03 Mar 1667. Thence to my Chancellor's (age 58), and there, meeting Sir H. Cholmly (age 34), he and I walked in my Lord's garden, and talked; among other things, of the treaty: and he says there will certainly be a peace, but I cannot believe it. He tells me that the Duke of Buckingham (age 39) his crimes, as far as he knows, are his being of a caball with some discontented persons of the late House of Commons, and opposing the desires of the King (age 36) in all his matters in that House; and endeavouring to become popular, and advising how the Commons' House should proceed, and how he would order the House of Lords. And that he hath been endeavouring to have the King's nativity calculated; which was done, and the fellow now in the Tower about it; which itself hath heretofore, as he says, been held treason, and people died for it; but by the Statute of Treasons, in Queen Mary's times and since, it hath been left out. He tells me that this silly Lord hath provoked, by his ill-carriage, the Duke of York (age 33), my Chancellor (age 58), and all the great persons; and therefore, most likely, will die. He tells me, too, many practices of treachery against this King; as betraying him in Scotland, and giving Oliver an account of the King's private councils; which the King (age 36) knows very well, and hath yet pardoned him1.

Note 1. Two of our greatest poets have drawn the character of the Duke of Buckingham (age 39) in brilliant verse, and both have condemned him to infamy. There is enough in Pepys's reports to corroborate the main features of Dryden's (age 35) magnificent portrait of Zimri in "Absolom and Achitophel". "In the first rank of these did Zimri stand; A man so various that he seemed to be Not one, but all mankind's epitome; Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong; Was everything by starts, and nothing long, But, in the course of one revolving moon, Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon; Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking, Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking, * * * * * * * He laughed himself from Court, then sought relief By forming parties, but could ne'er be chief". Pope's facts are not correct, and hence the effect of his picture is impaired. In spite of the duke's constant visits to the Tower, Charles II still continued his friend; but on the death of the King (age 36), expecting little from James, he retired to his estate at Helmsley, in Yorkshire, to nurse his property and to restore his constitution. He died on April 16th, 1687, at Kirkby Moorside, after a few days' illness, caused by sitting on the damp grass when heated from a fox chase. The scene of his death was the house of a tenant, not "the worst inn's worst room" ("Moral Essays", epist. iii.). He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Evelyn's Diary. 14 Mar 1667. Saw "The Virgin Queen", a play written by Mr. Dryden (age 35).

Pepy's Diary. 29 Jul 1667. But, above all, I saw my Lord Mordaunt (age 41) as merry as the best, that it seems hath done such further indignities to Mr. Taylor' since the last sitting of Parliament as would hang (him), if there were nothing else, would the King (age 37) do what were fit for him; but nothing of that is now likely to be. After having spent an hour or two in the hall, my cozen Roger (age 50) and I and Creed to the Old Exchange [Map], where I find all the merchants sad at this peace and breaking up of the Parliament, as men despairing of any good to the nation, which is a grievous consideration; and so home, and there cozen Roger (age 50) and Creed to dinner with me, and very merry:-but among other things they told me of the strange, bold sermon of Dr. Creeton yesterday, before the King (age 37); how he preached against the sins of the Court, and particularly against adultery, over and over instancing how for that single sin in David, the whole nation was undone; and of our negligence in having our castles without ammunition and powder when the Dutch come upon us; and how we have no courage now a-days, but let our ships be taken out of our harbour. Here Creed did tell us the story of the dwell last night, in Coventgarden [Map], between Sir H. Bellasses (age 28) and Tom Porter. It is worth remembering the silliness of the quarrell, and is a kind of emblem of the general complexion of this whole kingdom at present. They two it seems dined yesterday at Sir Robert Carr's (age 30), where it seems people do drink high, all that come. It happened that these two, the greatest friends in the world, were talking together: and Sir H. Bellasses talked a little louder than ordinary to Tom Porter, giving of him some advice. Some of the company standing by said, "What! are they quarrelling, that they talk so high?" Sir H. Bellasses hearing it, said, "No!" says he: "I would have you know that I never quarrel, but I strike; and take that as a rule of mine!"-"How?" says Tom Porter, "strike! I would I could see the man in England that durst give me a blow!" with that Sir H. Bellasses did give him a box of the eare; and so they were going to fight there, but were hindered. And by and by Tom Porter went out; and meeting Dryden (age 35) the poet, told him of the business, and that he was resolved to fight Sir H. Bellasses presently; for he knew, if he did not, they should be made friends to-morrow, and then the blow would rest upon him; which he would prevent, and desired Dryden (age 35) to let him have his boy to bring him notice which way Sir H. Bellasses goes.

Pepy's Diary. 16 Aug 1667. Up, and at the office all the morning, and so at noon to dinner, and after dinner my wife and I to the Duke's playhouse, where we saw the new play acted yesterday, "The Feign Innocence, or Sir Martin Marr-all"; a play made by my Lord Duke of Newcastle, but, as every body says, corrected by Dryden (age 35). It is the most entire piece of mirth, a complete farce from one end to the other, that certainly was ever writ. I never laughed so in all my life. I laughed till my head [ached] all the evening and night with the laughing; and at very good wit therein, not fooling. The house full, and in all things of mighty content to me.

Pepy's Diary. 18 Jan 1668. At the office all the morning busy sitting. At noon home to dinner, where Betty Turner (age 15) dined with us, and after dinner carried my wife, her and Deb. to the 'Change [Map], where they bought some things, while I bought "The Mayden Queene", a play newly printed, which I like at the King's house so well, of Mr. Dryden's (age 36), which he himself, in his preface, seems to brag of, and indeed is a good play.

Pepy's Diary. 19 Jun 1668. So homeward, and stopped at Mr. Mills's, where he and she at the door, and Mrs. Turner (age 45), and Betty, and Mrs. Hollworthy, and there I stayed and talked, and up to the church leads, and saw the fire, which spent itself, till all fear over. I home, and there we to bed again, and slept pretty well, and about nine rose, and then my wife fell into her blubbering again, and at length had a request to make to me, which was, that she might go into France, and live there, out of trouble; and then all come out, that I loved pleasure and denied her any, and a deal of do; and I find that there have been great fallings out between my father and her, whom, for ever hereafter, I must keep asunder, for they cannot possibly agree. And I said nothing, but, with very mild words and few, suffered her humour to spend, till we begun to be very quiet, and I think all will be over, and friends, and so I to the office, where all the morning doing business. Yesterday I heard how my Lord Ashly (age 46) is like to die, having some imposthume in his breast, that he hath been fain to be cut into the body1.

Note 1. "Such an operation was performed in this year, after a consultation of medical men, and chiefly by Locke's advice, and the wound was afterwards always kept open, a silver pipe being inserted. This saved Lord Ashley's (age 46) life, and gave him health"-Christie's Life of the first Earl of Shaftesbury, vol. ii., p. 34. 'Tapski' was a name given to Shaftesbury in derision, and vile defamers described the abscess, which had originated in a carriage accident in Holland, as the result of extreme dissipation. Lines by Duke, a friend and imitator of Dryden (age 36): "The working ferment of his active mind, In his weak body's cask with pain confined, Would burst the rotten vessel where 'tis pent, But that 'tis tapt to give the treason vent"..

Pepy's Diary. 19 Jun 1668. Home, have been at the King's playhouse to-day, thinking to spy me there; and saw the new play, "Evening Love", of Dryden's (age 36), which, though the world commends, she likes not.

Pepy's Diary. 22 Jun 1668. Thence to the Harp and Ball I to drink, and so to the Coffee-house in Covent Garden [Map]; but met with nobody but Sir Philip Howard (age 37), who shamed me before the whole house there, in commendation of my speech in Parliament, and thence I away home to dinner alone, my wife being at her tailor's, and after dinner comes Creed, whom I hate, to speak with me, and before him comes Mrs. Daniel about business....[Note. Missing text "and yo did tocar su cosa with mi mano"] She gone, Creed and I to the King's playhouse, and saw an act or two of the new play ["Evening's Love"] again, but like it not. Calling this day at Herringman's, he tells me Dryden (age 36) do himself call it but a fifth-rate play.

Pepy's Diary. 15 Sep 1668. So took wife and Mercer and Deb. and W. Hewer (age 26) (who are all to set out this day for Cambridge, to cozen Roger Pepys's (age 51), to see Sturbridge Fayre); and I shewed them the Exchange [Map], which is very finely carried on, with good dispatch. So walked back and saw them gone, there being only one man in the coach besides them; and so home to the Office, where Mrs. Daniel come and staid talking to little purpose with me to borrow money, but I did not lend her any, having not opportunity para hater allo thing mit her. At the office all the morning, and at noon dined with my people at home, and so to the office again a while, and so by water to the King's playhouse, to see a new play, acted but yesterday, a translation out of French by Dryden (age 37), called "The Ladys a la Mode" so mean a thing as, when they come to say it would be acted again to-morrow, both he that said it, Beeson, and the pit fell a-laughing, there being this day not a quarter of the pit full.

Pepy's Diary. 20 Sep 1668. Lord's Day. Up, and to set some papers to rights in my chamber, and the like in my office, and so to church, at our own church, and heard but a dull sermon of one Dr. Hicks, who is a suitor to Mrs. Hovell, the widow of our turner of the Navy; thence home to dinner, staying till past one o'clock for Harris (age 34), whom I invited, and to bring Shadwell the poet with him; but they come not, and so a good dinner lost, through my own folly. And so to dinner alone, having since church heard the boy read over Dryden's (age 37) Reply to [his brother-in-law] Sir R. Howard's (age 42) Answer, about his Essay of Poesy, and a letter in answer to that; the last whereof is mighty silly, in behalf of Howard1.

Note 1. The title of the letter is as follows: "A Letter from a Gentleman to the Honourable Ed. Howard, Esq., occasioned by a Civiliz'd Epistle of Mr. Dryden's (age 37) before his Second Edition of his Indian Emperour. In the Savoy, printed by Thomas Newcomb, 1668". The "Civiliz'd Epistle" was a caustic attack on Sir Robert Howard; and the Letter is signed, "Sir, your faithful and humble servant, R. F".-i.e., Richard Flecknoe.

On 02 May 1669 [his son] Erasmus Henry Dryden 5th Baronet was born to John Dryden (age 37) and [his wife] Elizabeth Howard (age 31).

In 1670 [his sister-in-law] Frances Howard (age 43) died.

The Conquest of Granada is a Restoration era stage play, a two-part tragedy written by John Dryden (age 38) that was first acted in 1670 and published in 1672.

Evelyn's Diary. 27 Jun 1674. Mr. Dryden (age 42), the famous poet and now laureate, came to give me a visit. It was the anniversary of my marriage, and the first day I went into my new little cell and cabinet, which I built below toward the south court, at the east end of the parlor.

Before 1679 [his brother-in-law] Philip Howard (age 49) and Mary Jennings (age 37) were married. He the son of Thomas Howard 1st Earl Berkshire and Elizabeth Cecil Countess Berkshire.

In 1679 [his sister-in-law] Mary Howard (age 63) died.

Evelyn's Diary. 17 Jun 1683. I dined at the Earl of Sunderland's (age 41) with the Earls of Bath (age 54), Castlehaven (age 66), Lords Viscount Falconberg (age 56), Falkland (age 27), Bishop of London (age 27), the Grand Master of Malta, brother to the Duke de Vendôme (a young wild spark), and Mr. Dryden (age 51), the poet. After evening prayer, I walked in the park with my Lord Clarendon, where we fell into discourse of the Bishop of Salisbury (Dr. Seth Ward), his subtlety, etc. Dr. Durell, late Dean of Windsor, being dead, Dr. Turner, one of the Duke's chaplains was made dean.

Evelyn's Diary. 06 Jan 1686. Passed the Privie Seale, amongst others, the creation of Mrs. Sedley J (concubine to) Countesse of Dorchester (age 28), which the Queene took very grievously (age 27), so as for two dinners, standing neere her I observed she hardly eate one morsel, nor spake one word to the King (age 52), or to any about her, tho' at other times she us'd to be extreamly pleasant, full of discourse and good humour. The Roman Catholics were also very angry, because they had so long valu'd the sanctity of their religion and proselytes. Dryden (age 54) the famous playwriter, and his two sonns, and Mrs. Nelly (age 35) (Misse to ye late) were said to go to masse; such proselytes were no greate losse to the church. This night was burnt to the ground my Lord Mountague's palace in Bloomsbury, than wch for painting and furniture there was nothing more glorious in England. This happen'd by the negligence of a servant, airing, as they call it, some of the goods by the fire in a moist season; indeede so wet and mild a winter had scarce ben seene in man's memory. At this Seale there also pass'd the creation of Sr H. Walgrave (age 25) to be a Peere. He had married one of the King's natural daughters (age 19) by Mrs. Churchill. These two Seales my brother Commissioners pass'd in the morning before I came to towne, at. wch I was not displeas'd. We likewise pass'd Privy Seales for 5.2/6,000 upon severall accounts, pensions, guards, wardrobes, pri vie purse, &c. besides divers pardons, and one more wch I must not forget (and wch by Providence I was not present at) one Mr. Lytcott to be Secretary to the Ambassador to Rome. We being three Commissioners, any two were a quorum.

Before 1691. John Riley (age 44). Portrait of John Dryden (age 59).

Around 1693. Godfrey Kneller (age 46). Portrait of John Dryden (age 61).

Evelyn's Diary. 11 Jan 1694. Supped at Mr. Edward Sheldon's, where was Mr. Dryden (age 62), the poet, who now intended to write no more plays, being intent on his translation of Virgil. He read to us his prologue and epilogue to his valedictory play now shortly to be acted.

Around 1697. Godfrey Kneller (age 50). Portrait of John Dryden (age 65).

In 1698 [his brother-in-law] William Howard (age 76) died.

On 03 Sep 1698 [his brother-in-law] Robert Howard (age 72) died. He was buried at Westminster Abbey [Map].

On 01 May 1700 John Dryden (age 68) died.

In 1714 [his former wife] Elizabeth Howard (age 76) died.

The Affairs of State Volume 3 The Town Life. But next we'll visit where the Beaus in order come,

(Tis yet too early for the drawing-room)

Here Nowels and Olivio's abound;

But one plain Manly is not to be found:

Flatt'ring the present, the absent they abuse,

And vent their Spleen and Lies, pretending News:

Why, such a Lady's pale and wou'd not Dance

This to the Country gone, and that to France

Who's marry'd, flipp'd away, or mist at Court;

Others Misfortunes thus afford them sport.

A new Song is produced, the Author guest,

The Verses and the Poet made a Jest.

Live Laureat E[...]er, in whom we see

The English can excel Antiquity.

Dryden writes Epick, Woosly Odes in vain

Virgil and Horace still the cheif maintain:

He with his mathless Poems has alone, Bavins and Mivius in their way out-done.

The Affairs of State Volume 3 The Session of the Poets. 19. Dryden, whom one wou'd have thought had more Wit

The Censure of every Man did disdain,

Pleading some pitiful Rhimes he had writ

In praise of the Countess of Castlemaine.

The Affairs of State Volume 3 The Session of the Poets. 17. Sir Robert Howard, call'd for over and over,

At length sent in Teague with a Pacquet of News,

Wherein the sad Knight, to his Grief, did discover,

How Dryden had lately robb'd him of his Muse.

The Huntingdon Peerage Chapter IX Ferdinando Sixth Earl of Huntingdon. The loss of two sons, it may be conceived, was sufficiently distressing to a parent's feelings, but a still severer trial was reserved for them. Little more than two years after, on the 24th of June, 1649, Lord Henry, the eldest son, just in the flower of youth, and the love and admiration of all who knew him, was also cut off. He died of the small-pox, in his twentieth year, under the additional grief to his parents of his being then an only son, and, for a climax of affliction, on the very eve of his nuptials. The premature death of is amiable young nobleman, who, to the sweetest disposition and the most polished manners, added great proficiency in literature and a promise of uncommon talents, was a subject of universal lamentation and sympathy. Several of the most distinguished characters of that period, whether for worth, abilities, or elevated rank, joined the homage of their regrets, and paid "the meed of a melodious tear" to his Lordship's memory. Nearly an hundred elegiac poems were composed on the melancholy occasion, and afterwards published under the title of "Lachrymae Musarum; the Tears of the Muses; expressed in Elegies written by divers Persona of Nobility and Worth, upon the Death of the most hopeful Henry, Lord Hastings, only Son of the Right Honourable Ferdinando Earl of Huntingdon, Heir-general to the high-born Prince George, Duke of Clarence, Brother to King Edward the Fourth: collected and set forth by R. B. 1649". Among the eminent names, contributors to this collection, we find Lord Falkland, Dryden, Marvel, Herrick, Denham, the Honourable Ralph Montagu, and many others who emulated each other in celebrating the virtues of the deceased, and enshrining his character in immortal verse. A few select flowers, transplanted from this funereal garland of the Muses, cannot be deemed exotics here.

The following epitaphs were proposed:

Here lies the age's paramount, the store Of Albion's shame, because it mourns no more, And since the fate is so, if for his fall We cannot weep enough, our children shall. J. Rossz.

Tread off, profaner feet! forbear To press this hallowed mould, where lies Firm virtue's and high honour's heir, The darling of the courteous skies, Who, by rare parts, the flight of fame In life outwent; in death his name. Thomas Bancroft.

Three royal Henries, sprung from Huntingdon, We saw alive: the first and last are gone Bright saints to heaven, above all fancy'd spheres. To meet their sovereign in that House of Peers. The third God's hand by wonder hath preserved. In whom their honour trebly is reserved. So Sybil's books consumed, the last contains Their precious truths, and treble value gains. Howe'er we sadly mourn, his nephew's fate Makes widowed England still more desolate. Oh, never such a son to parent's mind! Oh, never subject loyaller inclined! Oh, none more pious, none more man, so soon Ripe for his set, ere raised to half his noon. That mightier hand that stopped the mighty sun. Canst thou his circle sooner make him run? A varied fever had surprised his head. And death ensued when royal blood he bled; Bodies live not when head and heart decays. Where all their veins are right Basilicas; The fountain dried, how should the channel run? Good night to stars when darkened is the sun. Thus royal, loyal, leam'd, lov'd Hastings lies, All good men's loss, to saints a glorious prize." Thomas Pestellus, filius.

Upon the Death of Lord Hastings, by Dryden. Must noble Hastings immaturely die, The honour of his ancient family. Beauty and learning thus together meet. To bring a winding for a wedding sheet? Must virtue prove death's harbinger? must she. With him expiring, feel mortality? Is death, sin's wages, grace's now? shall art Make us more learned, only to depart? If merit be disease; if virtue death; To be good, not to be; who'd then bequeath Himself to discipline? who'd not esteem Labour a crime? study self-murther deem?Our noble have pretence to be Dunces securely, ignorant heathily. Rare linguist whose worth speaks itself whose praise Though not his own, all tongues besides do raise: Than whom great Alexander miay seem less; Who conquer'd mens but not their languages. In his mouth nations spake; his tongue might be Interpreter to Greece, France, Italy. His native soil Was the four parts o' the earth; All Europe was too narrow for his birth. A young apostle; and, with reverence may I speak't inspir'd with gift of tongues, as they. Nature gave him, a child, what men in vain Oft strive, by art though furthered, to obtain. His body was an orb, his sublime soul Did move on virtue's and on learning's pole: Whose regular motions better to our view. Than Archimedes' sphere, the heavens did shew. Graces and virtues, languages and arts. Beauty and learning, fill'd up all the parts. Heaven's gifts, which do like falling stars appear Scatter'd in others; all, as in their sphere. Were fix'd, conglobate in his soul: and thence Shone through his body, with sweet influence; Letting their glories so on each limb fall. The whole frame rendered was celestial. Come, learned Ptolemy, and trial make. If thou this hero's altitude cans't take: But that transcends thy skill; thrice happy all. Could we but prove thus astronomical. Liv'd Tycho now, struck with this ray, which shone More bright i' the morn', than others beam at noon, He'd take his astrolabe, and seek out here What new star 'twas did gild our hemisphere. Replenish'd then with such rare gifts as these. Where was room left for such a foul disease? The nation's sin hath drawn that veil, which shrouds Our day-spring in so sad benighting clouds. Heaven would no longer trust its pledge; but thus Recall'd it; rapt its Ganymede from us. Was there no milder way but the small-pox, The very filthiness of Pandora's box? So many spots, like næves on Venus* soil. One jewel set off with so many a foil; Blisters with pride swell'd, which through's flesh did sprout Like rose-buds, stuck i' the lilly skin about. Each little pimple had a tear in it, To wail the fault its rising did commit: Which, rebel like, with its own lord at strife, Thus made an insurrection 'gainst his life. Or were these gems sent to adorn his skin. The cabinet of a richer soul within? No comet need foretel his change drew on. Whose corpse might seem a constellation. O! had he died of old, how great a strife Had been, who from his death should draw their life? Who should, by one rich draught, become whate'er Seneca, Cato, Numa, Csesar, were? Learn'd, virtuous, pious, great; and have by this An universal metempsychosis. Must all these aged sires in one funeral Expire? all die in one so young, so small? Who, had he liv'd his life out, his great fame Had swol'n 'bove any Greek or Roman name. But hasty winter, with one blast, hath brought The hopes of autumn, summer, spring, to nought Thus fades the oak i' the sprig, i' the blade the corn. Thus without young, this Phoenix dies, new bom. Must then old three-legg'd grey-beards with their gout, Catarrhs, rheums, aches, live three ages out? Time's offals, only fit for the hospital! Or to hang antiquaries' rooms withal! Must drunkards, lechers, spent with sinning, live With such helps as broths, possets, physic give? None live, but such as should die? shall we meet With none but ghostly fathers in the street? Grief makes me rail; sorrow will force its way; And show'rs of tears tempestuous sighs best lay. The tongue may fail; but overflowing eyes Will weep out lasting streams of elegies.

But thou, O virgin-widow, left alone Now thy belov'd, heaven-ravish'd spouse is gone, Whose skilful sire in vain strove to apply Med'cines, when thy balm was no remedy. With greater than Platonic love, O wed His soul, though not his body, to thy bed: Let that make thee a mother; bring thou forth The ideas of his virtue, knowledge, worth; Transcribe the original in new copies; give Hastings o' the better part: so shall he live In's nobler half; and the great grandsire be Of an heroic divine progeny: An issue, which to eternity shall last, Yet but the irradiations which he cast. Erect no mausoleums: for his best Monument is his spouse's marble breast.

Ancestors of John Dryden 1631-1700

Great x 1 Grandfather: John Dryden of Canons Ashby

GrandFather: Erasmus Dryden 1st Baronet

Father: Erasmus Dryden

Great x 1 Grandfather: William Wilkes of Hodnell, Warwickshire

GrandMother: Frances Wilkes

John Dryden